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Afib-Stroke Connection

Atrial fibrillation (Afib) affects an estimated 2.2 million people in the U.S. Afib is a type of irregular heartbeat, often caused when the two upper chambers of the heart beat unpredictably and sometimes rapidly. These irregular heartbeats can cause blood to collect in the heart and potentially form a clot, which can travel to a person’s brain and cause a stroke.

To help raise awareness about the association between Afib and the increased risk of stroke, National Stroke Association has developed the Afib-Stroke Connection. The initiative provides tools to patients and primary care practitioners and their staff to help begin—or continue—discussion about Afib-related stroke between people with Afib and those who provide support and/or healthcare. Learn how the tools can be used by patients or healthcare practitioners.

Atrial Fibrillation Facts

Know the facts about Afib and prevent stroke from happening to you.

  • Afib is:
    • a leading risk factor for stroke
    • more common in people over age 60
    • often asymptomatic, making it difficult for people to know that they have it
  • Afib can be successfully managed with the help of a healthcare professional.
  • About 15 percent of all people who have strokes also have Afib.
  • Knowing about and properly managing your Afib can prevent you from having a stroke.
  • Up to 80 percent of strokes in people with Afib can be prevented.

Tools for Patients

It can be difficult to receive an atrial fibrillation (Afib) diagnosis. People with Afib are often overwhelmed by the condition and how it may impact them, as well as their family and friends. Many people with Afib are unaware of the five-times greater risk of stroke as a result of having Afib.

Assess Your Risk

Healthcare Practitioner Tools

Despite evidence-based guidelines for managing Afib and estimates that two-thirds of Afib-related strokes can be avoided, serious gaps continue to exist between clinical knowledge and practice, leaving patients at risk for disabling strokes.

Stroke in patients with Afib has worse outcomes than non–Afib-related stroke, including higher mortality, stroke recurrence and greater functional impairment and dependency. Although existing guidelines define effective therapeutic strategies for managing Afib to reduce stroke risk, these strategies are frequently underused or inappropriately understood. Both physician and patient knowledge and attitudes play an important role in the success of current strategies to manage Afib to prevent stroke.


Sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Bristol-Myers Squibb/Pfizer Inc. Partnership.

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